AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: MAPLE CHEN, AE ASSOCIATE

For the third year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler, and followed up with a post from Nate Christopher about finding love through loving yourself. Now Maple Chen, a merchant at our Pittsburgh corporate campus, shares her story about using her voice to help others feed heard.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

MAPLE CHEN

Associate Merchant, Women’s Jeans

I wasn’t one of those kids who “just knew” from a young age that they were different. It took me until college to figure out that I wasn’t straight, and another two years from there to feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone besides my closest friends about it. One of the reasons it took me so long to realize was that there was very little representation in mainstream media, and what I did see was specific to gay men – maybe I couldn’t completely relate to Ross and Rachel, but I also didn’t feel a kinship with Neil Patrick Harris.

The fact that AE has a Pride collection and gives to charities supporting LGBTQ+ youth is a reminder to me of how far we have come in terms of visibility. It’s a huge step from debating same-sex marriage in my ninth-grade government class to being part of a huge brand like AE that is celebrating people like me.

Maple Chen

I’m proud to be part of a company that understands how important it is to make LGBTQ+ kids feel understood, and I hope I can inspire people just by living my life authentically and speaking my truth.

To anyone reading this who feels like people just don’t get it: We see you, we were you, and we made it. Find the people who make you feel like you can be yourself unapologetically, and then use your voice to stand up and help others feel the same.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!

 

 

 

Styled by You: Cute Summer Outfits We Love

Rock all the latest summer trends and feel good in your skin with American Eagle. Whether you’re into bold prints, fresh denim styles, or you just want to try out a new crop top outfit, there’s always a good reason to take on a fresh summer trend and put your spin on it. We’re here for these styles because they’re all about feeling good no matter what you’re up to. Want to show some skin in a crop top? Go get it. Feel like keeping things light and breezy in a printed dress? You look good doing it. Searching for the right pair of jeans in a new wash with all the best details? Do you, boo. You can go for bold in all kinds of new prints, colors and styles that were made for making your moves, your way.

All about prints

@ali__yah @alliewears @danyellpitts

Want to step out of your comfort zone and look good doing it? Fresh summer prints are there to step up your style game with vibrant colors and tones that elevate your look every time you wear them. They come in all kinds of patterns and designs, ranging from super-hot animal prints like leopard and cheetah to more classic prints like stripes, ditsy and floral. Try wearing a printed dress or skirt with a pair of sneakers for a look that’s always ready for your next adventure, or keep things classic with sandals that easily transition from work to play when you want. Fresh summer prints take your favorite romper, jumpsuit, skirt, or dress and make them even better so you’re always ready for your next concert / date night / going out night / whatever else.

Denim for days

@graycemcc @omartt_rmz @bethanyaroutunian

Since we’re always coming out with new fits and styles based on what you want, you can feel confident trying out a new silhouette or a new denim wash this summer. For guys, we’ve got new men’s jeans fits like the Athletic fit jean designed with more room through the thigh, and the stacked skinny jean, made with a longer inseam for a stacked effect at the ankle to draw attention down to your sneakers. For girls, Curvy shorts and jeans are there serving LOOKS everywhere you go this summer. Try jeans and shorts in all kinds of new washes ranging from light to dark to show off your style, and make sure you have all the right elements like frayed hems, ripped knees and other must-have deets.

 

Crazy for crops

@lindsey_watts @megan11walsh @amberlysheashea

We couldn’t be more into crop tops right now if we tried. This iconic style is made for breezy nights, warm days and everything in between. With all kinds of design options to choose from, you can have a different crop top for every day this summer. Tube tops offer a slim fit that goes with anything, and cropped halter tops offer a classic silhouette with the shorter length you love. Cropped t-shirts are another summer fave since they keep things light and comfortable, and cropped tank tops make sure you can show off some skin whenever and wherever.

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling ready to take on your next big event with the latest summer trends? Show off all your cute summer outfits by tagging us on Instagram & Twitter with #AExME or #AEJeans @americaneagle and you could be featured on our site, social media or blog!

 

 

WE’RE PARTNERING WITH CANOPY TO SAVE ANCIENT & ENDANGERED FORESTS

Let’s talk fabric. You probably know all about cotton (so classic, so cool), but what about man-made cellulose fabrics like rayon and viscose? These fabrics are super-soft, breathable, and lightweight, which makes them perfect for drapey tops and dresses, and for blending into the comfy, stretchy jeans you love.

But like so many amazing things, there’s a downside.

We’ve learned that viscose and rayon aren’t quite as sustainable as we’d thought. Sure, they’re made from trees, which are a renewable resource, but every year, 150 million trees are cut down to create fabric. And we want more healthy forests, not less. Forests soak up carbon dioxide, which slows down climate change. Plus, think of all the plants, animals, and people who rely on those ecosystems for food, water, medicine, and more.

That’s why AEO—along with 125 other major brands—has partnered with the environmental nonprofit group Canopy to educate ourselves and our suppliers, and ensure the clothing we make for YOU is free of fibers from ancient and endangered forests.

 

 

2020, we plan to eliminate sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.

 

 

 

By 2025, we plan to shift to more environmentally and socially beneficial fabrics, with a focus on recycled materials, fiber alternatives such as agricultural residues, and products that originate from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests and plantations.

 

 

 

 

We’ll respect and uphold human rights and the rights of communities. We plan not to source from companies that are logging forests illegally or in violation of indigenous and local people’s rights.

 

 

 

We plan to work with Canopy and our suppliers to protect remaining ancient and endangered forests across the world, including the Coastal Temperate Rainforests on Vancouver Island, the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s Boreal Forests, and Indonesia’s Rainforests.

 

 

 

If we find out that any of our suppliers are engaging in practices that are not in line with our values (and YOURS), we plan to educate them and/or re-evaluate our relationships with them.

 

 

 

We ALL have the power to create change. AEO is committed to making sure the raw materials used to make your clothes are sourced in responsible, sustainable ways. How are you changing the world? Tag #AExME @americaneagle and let us know. You could be featured in an upcoming post!

 

 

 

Why cropped jeans are our pick of the summer

Stand out and feel good in jeans designed for the season. Cropped jeans are just right this time of year because their shorter length lets you show off some skin how you want, when you want. Choose from all kinds of fits and styles with the cropped length – including some of our favorites like ripped jeans, high-waisted jeans, light wash jeans, flare jeans and a bunch more must-have styles. And with all kinds of options for fabric, wash and design, you can always find the right cropped length, fit and style for you.

AE cropped jeans

It’s all about the details

The cropped, shorter length lets you focus on other key elements of your outfit – like your shoes. Go for a sport-inspired look when you wear cropped jeans with sneakers, or wear them with sandals and flats for an on-trend style all summer long. Other finishing touches like accessories help pull the outfit together, too. Summer faves like floral scrunchies and bow front headbands look good everywhere you go, and other additions like bucket hats and sun hats help shield the sun and look good doing it, too. Make your cropped jeans look even more you with accessories like straw bags, fanny packs & other essentials made to look and feel good.

AE cropped jeans

Raw and frayed hems make your cropped jeans better than the rest since they add some character to your look, while other details like strategic fading, rips, tears, patches and mending elevate your jeans with a little something extra. Feel good with all the finishing touches like hand-made destruction, rolled hems, ripped knees and more. Or you can add a little flare to your look with cropped flare jeans and wide leg cropped jeans, both designed to add extra style to your outfit of the day. They still have the shorter cropped length you know and love – but use a flare leg opening to give you the silhouette you want. With all kinds of other options like cropped jeggings, Artist crop jeans, slim straight cropped jeans and more, you’ll never run out of choices for all your warm-weather outfits.

AE cropped jeans

Crops on crops

Sure, we’ve sold you on all the benefits of wearing cropped jeans this summer, but now you might be wondering what to wear them with. Since our cropped jeans are designed with a high-waisted fit that always feels good, they’re just right for wearing with crop tops like cropped t-shirts, tube tops, cropped tank tops, cropped sweatshirts and more. Cropped jeans outfits don’t have to be complicated – just throw on your favorite women’s top and feel good about your look from morning to night.

AE cropped jeans

Feelin’ yourself now that you’ve conquered a new cropped jeans look? Show us on Instagram & Twitter with #AExME @americaneagle and you could be featured on our site, blog or social media!

 

 

AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: NATE CHRISTOPHER, AE ASSOCIATE

For the third year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

 We kicked off our series of guest posts about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better with our Global Brand President, Chad Kessler. Now Nate Christopher, a retail packing evening shift supervisor in Ottawa, Kansas, is here to share his story of honesty, joy, and finding love by learning to love himself.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

NATE CHRISTOPHER

Retail Packing Evening Shift Supervisor, Ottawa, Kansas

 

As far back as I can remember, I always knew I was gay, but I repressed it as I went through my childhood and adolescence. I wore a mask hiding who I was for at least 20 years.  However, I’m here to say that it does get better.

As a child I found myself interested in music and acting. I joined chorus, select chorus, and even performed in multiple musicals and drama productions. In high school I found the Army JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) and became interested in the military. My desire to serve was solidified by the events of September 11, 2001 as I was in the first few weeks of my junior year of high school. However, I was afraid that if I were to come out, my chances of earning an Army ROTC scholarship to my university of choice would fall by the wayside. After all, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was in effect up until mid-2011.

Even though it was becoming more socially acceptable to be gay, I was petrified of being outed. I am ashamed to admit it, but I severed ties with my childhood best friend for trying to out me to the rest of my high school class. I had a specific agenda: I wanted out of my small hometown and a chance to be the first member of my family to attend college in years – on an academic scholarship no less. I was not going to let anything prevent me from attending St. Bonaventure University while working toward becoming an Army officer.

My high school years passed, and I experienced my first true love with a girl. I earned that scholarship and we broke up because I was going away to college. Soon after my high school graduation, I met my first male partner and began a secret relationship that I somehow managed to keep hidden from all of my closest friends and family for nearly the next 10 years.

I went off to college at St. Bonaventure. I made some great new friends over the years.  However, none of them knew what I was hiding. I entered the Army after my college graduation in 2007, still in the closet. I continued to put on a face the whole time I was in the Army. I completed all my initial training and was sent to Fort Riley, Kansas in 2008. My partner and I saw each other a handful of times during my college and years in the Army, but his support for me was unwavering.

I had become a Type 1 diabetic sometime during my deployment to Iraq in 2009. This discovery was devastating – I had lost an astounding 70 pounds due to the condition.  I took the time necessary to get my diabetes under control while fighting for several years to remain on active duty. Despite my best efforts, the Army saw fit to release me from honorable service due to my medical condition. I realized during this time that my partner and I were no longer compatible and it would be better for the two of us if we were to end the relationship. The breakup was messy and stressful. We had been together for nearly 10 years and I still was not out, so I didn’t exactly have friends to discuss this with, and I found myself alone, unemployed, and searching for a new direction and purpose in life.

NATE CHRISTOPHER Retail Packing Evening Shift Supervisor, Ottawa, Kansas

Nate and his partner Steven in 2018. They went on their first date during Nate’s first week of working at AE. 

This was a very uneasy time for me. All I ever wanted to do was be in the Army from the start of my high school career in 1999. I had a degree in English but I had not really considered what I wanted to do post-military. I had spent a significant part of my time in the Army working with the supply chain and logistics fields and had discovered that I enjoyed that type of work.

I spent the summer of 2012 attending job fairs and traveling all over the country for follow-up interviews with various companies in a number of different industries. I interviewed with two HR representatives from AE in Chicago and they told me about opportunities in both Ottawa, Kansas and Warrendale, Pennsylvania.  If you had asked me back then if I had any intentions to remain in Kansas, I would have very clearly stated, “Absolutely not.” I had loathed my time in the Manhattan, Kansas area and found myself traveling to the Kansas City metro area for entertainment (I grew up near Buffalo, New York, so I was used to more of a “bigger city” vibe).

The HR reps saw fit to have me come to the AE Ottawa campus distribution center for an on-site interview. As soon as I walked in, my gut told me I was supposed to be here. I immediately fell in love with the warm welcome and cordial interviews I had with the management and HR team. I also developed a fascination for the operational environment. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a position as a Distribution Center Supervisor, and within a few weeks I packed up and headed east to the Ottawa/Lawrence area.

By the end of my first week with AE, I met my partner Steve and we went out on our first date.  This fresh start was exactly what I needed to get me to come to terms with my sexuality and to start living my life for me. As my relationship with Steve developed, I became more confident in showing my true self to people around me. I came out to my sister first, and then to most of my co-workers. In January of 2013 I returned home and told my mother and the rest of my family and close friends in person. I was fortunate to have a relatively low-key coming out. Everyone was surprised but supportive. Three months later, my youngest sister came out.

NATE CHRISTOPHER Retail Packing Evening Shift Supervisor, Ottawa, Kansas

Nate entered the Army in 2007 and bravely served in Iraq in 2009. He’s found a post-military career with AE — and love and acceptance with his partner Steve.

I’m a firm believer in fate and that things happen for a reason. I believe that developing diabetes was the best thing that ever happened to me. It set the conditions to end my first professional career (which I loved and secretly hated at the same time because I couldn’t be myself); it kept me in Kansas to accept a fantastic opportunity; and it allowed me to meet my significant other at the same time. After living out and proud for nearly the last 7 years, I can honestly say that I have never been happier than I am right now in my life. It is even more rewarding knowing that I work for American Eagle Outfitters. This is such a diverse and accepting professional organization and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

If I could go back and tell my younger self something about it getting better, I would say that there is so much more joy in life that becomes available once you accept yourself and come out. Had I known that I would have been this happy after being honest with myself and the people closest to me, it probably wouldn’t have taken me nearly 27 years to do so.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!

 

 

 

AE X IT GETS BETTER GUEST POST: CHAD KESSLER, GLOBAL BRAND PRESIDENT, AMERICAN EAGLE

For the third year in a row, AE is proud to support the It Gets Better Project by donating 100% of sales of our annual Pride collection to the nonprofit, which uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ+ youth around the world. But inclusivity starts from the inside out, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on what equality, individuality, and a better future mean to us.

In the coming weeks and months, look for guest posts right here from AE associates across the country about love, acceptance, and how it really DOES get better. Kicking us off is AE’s Global Brand President, Chad Kessler.

 

SHOP WOMEN’S PRIDE    |    SHOP MEN’S PRIDE

Chad Kessler, Global Brand President

AIDS. Homophobia. Difference. A life alone.  These were all things I feared growing up gay.  I thought it would get better because I might outgrow my attraction to men and their bodies.  I am so glad that I didn’t change. Coming out was a humbling experience. I found many friends who in some ways knew me better that I knew myself. No one was surprised by my revelation. My friends had already realized, come to terms with, and accepted my truth. The best thing I heard was from a close friend.  He told me that being honest with myself and accepting, living, and embracing my personal truth would lead to an honest life – one without fear of being caught, without hiding, with personal acceptance. All of that has been true.

I am lucky to have a family that has accepted and loves me. I still am close with so many of my childhood friends who knew all along. But in addition to that, I have also found and cherish our empowered gay community. There are so many people of all ages, races, backgrounds who have come through the same journey of self-discovery and acceptance and love. We share a common bond that should rise above other differences.

I had two periods of coming out. First, I told family and friends but still tried to pass at work and in public. My second and equally powerful coming out was when I decided that, in all aspects of my life, I would be openly and proudly gay. This was especially moving for me when I married my husband seven years ago in New York City. To have the justice of the peace proclaim the State of New York’s support for and legal affirmation of our love was so powerful. Today, my husband and I are the parents of twins. Parenthood is hard and exhausting, but rewarding and brings so much love to our lives. It also fosters another community and common experience across the lines of sexual orientation.

If I could talk to my younger self, I would like to say don’t worry. Be yourself. Live your truth. You are lucky to be you. Your happiness will be as full as anyone else’s. Live a life that is honest and true to yourself. When you accept who you are, you will find support. You will deepen the right friendships. You will find community and support and love. And, boy does it get better.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours? Share it with #ItGetsBetter @americaneagle to show your support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth around the world!